December Shows vs. January Shows
Which show should I attend and why do you have two shows so close together??
Why can’t we just do one show?
Over the course of the last few years, along with all other rep groups across the country, WWSRA has been slowly adding November/December shows onto our show schedule. And while to some the need and reasons for the addition of these shows are clear, to many it is not. The number one question we get here in the office is:
We are going to make an attempt to clear the question up for you and offer some advice on how to decide where you should show your brands as a rep and what shows you should attend as a retailer/buyer.
In the simplest of explanations it boils down to this:
- Softgoods vs. Hardgoods
- Early sampling & deadlines (BEFORE January 1) vs. later sampling & deadlines (AFTER January 1)
- Softgood accessories vs. Hardgood accessories
- “Outdoor” vs. “Snowsports”
- The differing cycles of all categories that WWSRA covers
Most softgoods deadlines are BEFORE January 1 and all hardgood deadlines are AFTER January 1, regardless of when they are sampled. Most hardgood brands are not sampled in full until after January 1, particularly when it comes to ski hardgoods and accessories.
TO BE VERY CLEAR
, this is a generalized statement, but accurate for most.
What is WWSRA doing and why?
As the national cycle (SIA/OR and now just OR) has worked to establish their timing for shows the regionals have been looked to and asked for solutions on a regional level that accommodate the incredibly close, yet diverse set of needs across the outdoor/snowsports/lifestyle industries. As rep associations we cover an enormous cross section of categories from skis, snowboards, camping tents, climbing gear, outerwear wear and apparel (etc.) to footwear, SUP’s and skateboards (etc.).If a product exists in the outdoor, snowsports & active lifestyle space and sells to those style of retailers, they are a welcome part of our organization and we have all mutually benefited from that inclusiveness. And while we absolutely LOVE the diversity within our association, we are faced with the challenge of navigating all of the different needs and cycles.
It is our role, as your association to listen to our membership, asses everyone’s needs and come up with solutions, options and more importantly opportunities for our membership to show their products on a cost effective, regional level, when and where it is needed.
Are the options and opportunities always going to work exactly for everyone, exactly when and where they need it? NO!
But with over 1100 members, 2500 retailers spanning 6 regions, we are committed to finding the best solutions that we can to address the masses.
This year we are encouraging both reps & buyers to sign up for shows early so that you can all mutually asses your own individual needs in real time and with accurate data about who will be where and when.We will also be working with all of you to be flexible on our end to help you all get into the shows if circumstances change at the last minute.We are not miracle workers, but if you communicate openly with us we’ll always do our best to make it work for you.
What can you do as sales reps & retailers??
- Talk to your manufacturers about sample ship dates, order deadlines, YOUR regional show dates and where they would like for you to exhibit.
- Talk to your retailers about when you are ready to show vs. when they are ready to see you.
- Talk to your reps, communicate with them what your needs are and be proactive in telling them what shows you would like for them to be at.
The staff at WWSRA cannot tell you where you should exhibit, in addition to this as a member or retailer you ARE NOT REQUIRED to attend every show we produce. Nor can we tell an apparel rep that they HAVE to exhibit in mid-January, past their deadlines, any more than we can tell a hardgoods rep they HAVE to exhibit in early December before they have samples. We also can’t make any assumptions about where specific reps & retailers will be. We can only loosely advise you all based on past experiences and what we are hearing/seeing within our industries.
We all need to be proactive, inquisitive and have the necessary conversations to help us all make the best possible decisions for our own unique businesses. Many, if not most of us, may have to exhibit in and attend multiple shows while everyone gets accustomed to our “new normal” and defines what works best for us individually. In particular if you cover multiple categories as a rep or a retailer. We also must be tolerant and understanding of those that differ from us in needs.
There are several ways to view this and while we know this is going to be challenging and exhausting for all, we challenge and encourage everyone to view multiple shows as an opportunity to be part of your community to experience something and someone that is new to you. The opportunities are endless if we are open to them.
Our Northern Cal & Rock Mountain shows in Feb/March every year are two of our longest running shows and are very specific to ski hardgoods, accessories, resort wear and rental business. That said, they are open to all and we welcome any member/retailer that has business that falls within those timelines!
If you have picked up any of Outdoor Retailers pieces on their future show dates or looked at the OR & GOA websites you will notice that they both jump around the June calendar for the next few years along with taking 2 full weeks out of play for regional shows. With the Memorial Day & 4th
of July holidays sandwiching June as well it limits choices and forces the regionals to jump around as well. We are working diligently with our facilities and forecasting out as far as we can to try and secure dates, but along with all other shows we do we will need our exhibitors and retailers to remain flexible, understanding and communicative as we work through the next few years.
Our challenges as an industry are endless and evolving but we are committed to working with you all to find solutions.
We will always be here to talk, so never hesitate to reach out.
- Cami, Rachel, Katie & your WWSRA Board of Directors